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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,888 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,888
Reviews: 777
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,021
Gots: 1,103 | FT: 83
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Starting in 2014, bottled Darkness will be aged in whiskey barrels. This listing is ONLY for Darkness that is NOT barrel-aged. For 2014 Darkness go here:  http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/p ... 14/141724/ 

Labels:
2007-Grim Reaper
2008-Devil
2009-Mummy
2010-Vampire
2011-Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
View: Beers (40) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,888 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jrallen34
3.78/5  rDev -16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle drank into my Darkness tulip...A dark as midnight night with a huge dark tan head. The head is amazing as it literally arises from beneath the beer foaming up a full four fingers. The head is two colors, dark tan on the bottom with a lighter color on the top. The retention and lacing are amazing...The aroma is muted from the 09 version in terms of the hops as they do not show through. Very malty, lots of sweet milk chocolate with a hint of grass on the back. Not what I was expected, but still pretty decent...The taste thankfully brings out more of the hops as this has a grassy hop backbone from start to finish. A lot of the sweetness is gone, only a little is left but as it warms the hops disappear too. This turns into a really boring beer, so disappointing.

The 09 version is so much better than this, the 10 is just a big let down.

Photo of deadbody
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

HOLY COW. Had this on tap at Groveland Tap, and it was amazing. Pours a dark rich black with a nice creamy tan head, excellent lacing. Strong malt smell, amazing taste, thick and rich with a great bold body. Spectacular mouthfeel, thick and rich. Super drinkable. Really happy I picked up 2 bottles.

Photo of Penguin3200
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracked a bottle of the 2010 Darkness tonight. Wanted to get a fresh review done from the bottle and try throughout the year. Will also be getting a draft or two in the coming weeks as it hits the TC pubs.

Appearance: 5.0 - Bottle rocks, and pours direct from the 57 degree cellar, thick into my snifter. Head of about 1 inch and some lacing after it settles. Dark, ominous and a thin head.

Smell: 4.5 - Loads of caramel and hot damn I would say crushed blueberries on the nose, and a some of the alcohol coming through. Some hops, but not nere what the '09 had.

Taste: 4.5 - Hits with a sweet chocolaty and caramel note, then the hops and alcohol come calling. Ends with a smokey malt and toasted grain finish. This finish keep s going...like a fine wine...Love this.

Mouthfeel: 5.0 - This eer hits it for me with the mouthfeel, light and airy almost, but still coats and leaves a finish that keep going and going. This is perfection.

drinkability: 5.0 - Not an over the top alcy bomb, and just has a finish that keeps you wanting more and more. Bravo Omar and Todd!!

Photo of Casey10
3.9/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had this in my cellar for some time as it is the 2008 edition. I tried it and felt it somewhat average.

The beer was a nice black and chocolate look.

S - Some chocolate notes some coffee not really strong.

T - was good did not blow me away it had a bit of chocolate coffee taste a bit astingent but not bad.

M- chewy is the best I can decribe it it went down a little tough, not bad bet did not blow me away.

D - A little low because it was hard to come by and not too sure if I would have another. Might have another year but for this year that is waht I am rating it.

Photo of adrock7309
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared 2009, and a 2007 at Surly Darkness Day 2010.

2009 was great. Sweetness was not over the top, dark chocolate and a slight hint of alchohol but totally enjoyable.

2007 was magnificent. Poured into a plastic cup but even that couldn't take away from this complete beer. Cant put it any other way - awesome.

Photo of mechamifune
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 edition

Pours jet black with about an inch of dark brown creamy head. Beer looks very "alive" so to speak and is about as nice as you can expect a RIS to look.

Nose is pleasant with mostly notes of chocolate. Not what I would call a strong smell (in contrast I found the taste much stronger and distinct) but still a very pleasant one with minimal sense of alcohol.

Taste makes me think of chocolate milk.... to me that seems like the overpowering note, which I enjoyed immensely. Coffee there too and a few slight underlying flavors that my palate isn't good enough to identify with certainty. The longer I drink it the more the sweetness of the beer starts to take front stage, but never to the point of being overpowering.

Keeping with the chocolate milk theme, the mouthfeel is fantastic. As creamy of a RIS as i've ever had and fantasticly easy to drink for such a high abv.

In total a great beer that I think probably benefited a good deal from cellaring a year. I had this a day after having a 09 dark lord and its amazing just how different two huge beers made in the same general style can be. Glad I finally got a hold of this one, but unless I move to minnesota for some reason, I don't anticipate going through the trouble of obtaining it again.

Photo of nkersten
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a tan head, about a quarter inch that fades into a ring at the edge. Amazing lacing for the style. Smell is bitter coffee and hops, licorice, milk. Taste is pretty fantastic. Sweet malt, sugary frosting, chocolate and hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is a heavy but perfect. Heavy with lots of lactose, light but fizzi carbonation. For the style, as drinkable as it gets.

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Thanks to my work friend who brought me a bottle since I couldn't make it. Poured into a pint glass:

A - Dark to say the least. Hard pour brings about a khaki head about an inch thick. No lacing really at all.

S - Kind of sweet like a milk stout. Sugary and a bit sweet. Tones of candy and a bit dark fruit. A bit earthy.

T - Wow! Roast but sugary and sweet. Chocolate and a bit coffee. I can't get past the sweetness though.

M - Syrup and thick. Creamy and velvety. A bit carbonated.

D - Even though its thick I can't stop drinking it. Very enjoyable. The sweetness suprises me. Good work, Surly!

Photo of DNICE555
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Halloween Bash 2010. The VIP at the party was the Surly Darkness. Shared with the LArse, Zapps, and Cpie. I cannot think of a better way to starting out an enchanted evening. This review should probably be #666 but I will probably be 666 but the time I get to that number. Shout to SpeedwayJim for this bottle.

2009 DARKNESS

I made my way through the chophouse, the spider web, the grim reaper, and the bloody black roses to my beer fridge. I took the bottle in hand, scurried to the bar and quickly placed it down. There was a strange energy surrounding the bottle. As I got closer to it I felt more and more empty inside. The mummy on the front had me begging Zapps to stay close and protect me. I grabbed Jlynn's heavy duty bottle opener of the orange dish. Stabbing at the bottle cutting through the wax left me out of breath. Finally I reached the cap and quickly pried it open before I was thrown backwards by an unkown force. Looking up at the bottle I could see spirits escaping which reminded me of the micronized Ghostbusters ghost trap. I broke out my proton pack and quickly secured them in the containment unit. Cautiously making my way back to the bottle I secured some tulips. I poured the thick sludge into my tulip and noticed a low carbonation level and the consistency of a Transylvanian Moat. A tan almost brown head jumped out of the moat like vampires of the night hunting for their prey. Finding myself in a trance like state I quickly looked away. I finally gathered the courage to take a sniff with my eyes closed. Roasted bat malts, plum witches dances around my noise hairs. After two years of lifting weights in my beer fridge the hops are still going strong. I picked up this evil liquid and took a sip. Feeling slightly possesed I could sense tons of different malts. The most impressive fruit profile of any stout I've ever had. So many flavors coming through. Despite the robust chocolaty coffee notes, the fruit dominated. What an interesting demon. Very low carbonation despite the exorcism. The demons sucked the bubbles out. As with any massive 10.3 ABV stout this one is a sipper. It's not meant to be chugged like a coors light. The drinkability is amazing. Alcohol is very well hidden. Mouthfeel is smooth as a witches broom handle. Unless I go to MN on darkness Day or trade another precious KTG this will probably be my only Darkness. What an impressive brewery. Very glad I got to try this one. Happy Halloween.

Photo of woosterbill
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

08 vintage into a Weyerbacher tulip.

A: Black body with a thin, but present, brown head. Nice enough for me.

S: Hugely oaky, very sweet, and boozy. Good, but not quite as transcendent as I might have hoped.

T: Sweet, boozy, and very, very tasty. Maybe a bit of hop bitterness, but the emphasis here is on the chocolatey malts and fruity alcohol. Again, it's very, very good, but not great.

M: Full bodied with lots of alcohol burn. I wouldn't want it to be any other way.

D: Somehow, I can't get enough of drinking this beer - even though it doesn't live up to my hopes.

Notes: What a beer to act as the capstone to a truly epic
afternoon/evening/night of beer wonderment. While I stand by my assessment of it, I will definitely rereview whenever I get a crack at a bottle that I can take my time with (and can be more sober for). Huge thanks to the Matt for pulling ths crazy beer out of nowhere. Awesome.

Cheers!

Photo of JackieTH
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Darkness 2010; on tap at MN Brew Review. .

Appearance: Rich dark brown, opaque, with a nice cap of carmelly-mocha head.

Smell: Rich dark chocolate, vanilla and molasses punctuated heartily by bitter citrus hops.

Taste: Dark roasted malt, rich dark chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, subtle bitter espresso, smoke, and a helping of bittering hops. Goodness. Darkness.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, syrupy.

Drinkability: It's big on flavor, very dark & rich...and high ABV...give me more. Right now.

Note: Although 60-some breweries were on hand...my friends found it was very hard to dislodge me from the Surly booth once I got a taste of Darkness 2010.

Photo of Mavajo
2.42/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours black as night with a brown head. Definitely looks the part of a big RIS.

The nose is lackluster - strong to be sure, but not pleasant. Tons and tons of malt with a plum character. Not really appealing.

The taste is much of the same. Loaded with roasty caramel malt and a charateristic that makes me think of plums. This isn't bad, per se, but definitely not tasty to me. When I try a beer of Darkness' acclaim, I expect some nice complexities and layers. I got none of that. This thing honestly tasted like a thicker, cloying version of Old Rasputin to me.

Mouthfeel was nice and thick and creamy. Sticky.

All in all, massive disappointment. even though this bottle was from the most recent vintage, I didn't get any of the hops that others are mentioning. I wish I had, since it might have balanced this mess out. I don't imagine I'll be trying this one again. Took me almost 5 hours to finish the bottle, and I was sick to my gut afterwards. Yeck.

Photo of Anthony1
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black hue with a nice bubbly one finger head on my pour. Nice hoppy aromas right from the start. There were hints of roasted malts and chocolate along with bitter coffee. It had a somewhat green aroma beneath the roast. Tons of bitter hops noted. Beautifully roasted chocolaty malt does come through as does a hint of vanilla, a nice dose of smoke, and a touch of dark fruit. A slight alcohol burn lingers after each gulp. Full in body, rich and somewhat syrupy.

Photo of mdfb79
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 09/25/10 notes. Got to try an 08 and an 09 side by side; big thanks to Lunch and Huhzubendah!

a - Both pour a dark brown with one inch of brown head and light carbonation. 09 seemed a little bit more carbonated.

s - 2008 vintage smells of hops, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee, and dark fruit. I thought the 09 vintage had more vanilla to it, and a tiny bit of alcohol. Both smelled great.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. Very enjoyable. I thought the 2008 vintage was slightly better and did not have as much coffee.

m - Medium to full body, more towards full, and low carbonation. Very creamy and smooth; mouthfeel is great.

d - I've been looking forward to this beer for quite a while and it did not disappoint. It had a complex, balanced smell I enjoyed a lot and a great mouthfeel. It was also hoppier than I expected. I think I enjoyed the 08 a little bit more than the 09, but both were great. Can't wait to have this one again.

Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a '09 from a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark black with a hunt of khaki. Head is decent 1 finger that falls to a nice ring around the glass.

S - Nice big sweet beer smell. Lots of roasted malt and dry dark chocolate.

T - The taste is a bit offsetting due to the large amount of hoppiness of this beer. The smells come through quite nicely. Plenty of dark fruits too. Wonderful.

M - Velvet smooth. Carbonation keeps the body light enough

O - Wonderful RIS, the hoppyness starts to detract from the flavor. Need to cellar a few.

Photo of GOGRANDE
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: pitch black. Really sticky looking, tiny head.

S: hops! what? really? thats awesome. You would Surly. You would. Sweet nose with a combo of big hops... Choc, pine,floral,little vanilla. Almost like a black IPA but bigger and thicker looking. I love Surly.

T: huge bold flavors. Just like the nose with this nice pairing of Choc big stout like taste and then a nice hop punch. Not crazy complex but sooo good. Caramel, choc, pine, butterscotch. WOW. incredible.

M: Amazing mouthfeel. Perfect. Nice and chewy and all the hop oils give it a nice silky oily feel. This is perfect. It just is.

D: great! nice and smooth. Not too hot. Just great.

Thoughts: Surly is one of the most talented brewies in the craft beer world. I have not had a ton of beers from them but everything I have had is amazing. They are quickly becoming one of my favorites. AND the awesome kick ass bottle art is just adding to it. THIS IS TRUE CRAFT BEER. CHEERS!

Photo of billab914
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opening up something special for my 30th birthday tonight. Mummy vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. It poured black in color with a huge, active, mocha colored head taking up nearly half of the glass. The head faded after a bit but it left some decent lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, fruitier flavor to it then the typical imperial stout. It almost has a chocolate covered cherry and molasses flavor to it. The roasted, bitter, coffee flavors are more in the background, but they are there. Alcohol is present as well but it doesn't feel out of place.

The taste is similar to the nose with the sweeter chocolate, cherry, molasses, alcohol flavors being the most present. The roasty and bitter flavors are pretty mild in it. It finishes on the dry side with a moderate dark chocolate bitterness coming through. It's definitely different then any other imperial stout I've had, but it's also very good.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side but not as thick as say Dark Lord. Carbonation is moderate for the style. Drinkability is good, I really liked the flavors it had. It really has a chocolate covered , booze soaked, cherry flavor to it that I really enjoyed. Very drinkable and delicious beer overall.

Photo of BigTomZ
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Pours a nice black with a nice thick tan head that left lots of lacing.

Smells roasty and sweet. Molasses, dark fruits, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee.

The taste followed the nose for the most part. There was a little brown sugar and licorice that was not really evident in the nose. This was pretty sweet but done in a good way.

This brew was thick and viscous with just enough carbonation to keep it pleasant.

I drank the whole bottle by myself without any problems and could have drank another if I had more.

Photo of khiasmus
4.22/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage. Thanks to Masterski.

Darkness. More than a word, it is often a chill. Associations come, for everyone a little different, but desolation is a recurring theme. The idea of emptinesss, or if there is something there, it's a nothing, a black hole, or a Presence that one does not wish to take mental hold of. So this. A monumental claim, to present oneself as a nonreality, an idea, a fearsome specter that holds the power to strike loathing into the hearts of men, for it is the Other. The Opposite. The Abssence. It does not truly exist, for it is the absence of something, the absence of The Light that creates it, and nothing else. So then this. It is not Darkness, not The Darknesss, and has little right to stake such a claim. It is, in fact, merely a quite dark brown beneath a soap-bubble and cream tan head... A head that leaves tiny spots on the glass after a swirl. It is a beautiful beer, but shows at once that it is merely a mockery, merely a distant shadow, of what it esteems itself to be.
And then of course, one must dive in to see what this Thing may hold, perhaps looks were decieving... and it hits you. There's no burnt rubber, or tar, or used oil, or the stench of something rotting, or breathing, or hissssing in the darkness, nothing to cast fear into your heart that this is a Monster to be reckoned with... Instead, it is the old standby, the familiar, the lovely grapefruit, the resin, some earthiness, perhaps from a graveyard, but could be just from a garden. That's the thing with this one... There are some soy sauce notes, some roasted grain, some few notes to remind you that this is, indeed, an imperial stout... But it is far from the normal, and also far from the Standard of true Darknesss in liquid form, for which there are two, in my estimation... Dark Lord 2007 and the original, the fresh Mikkeller Black.
And then it just gets relatively boring.... Big sweetness up front but with a huge, Dipa worthy hop profile, even lasting into the finish with grapefruit bitternesss. The underlying malt profiles are that of an excellent RIS, a sticky sweetness with a heavy chocolatey profile and some roasted grain in the finish combining with the hops to form a solid bitter finish and with a syrupy sweetnesss on the middle of the tongue. Blah, blah, blah. We've heard thisss all before. Oh sure, it'ss good... but really? How could you claim to be the abssence of Light itssself, and then be thisss.... Norrrrmality....
Ssss...
Sssssyrupy, mmmm, yessss.... and ssssticky, it warmssss the throatssss....
Itssss bubbles, they are fewsss, not sssso manyssss and thinss....
Itsss deliciousss... and sssmackssss of sssslitheringsss
ssensssouousssly ssliding and ssssnaking down the ssspinesss of the unfortunate onesss...
It iss not the besst sssstout, but there isss ssome delectabilitiesss in thisss... and it'ssss sssneaky...
ssshelpsss....itsssgotsssmesss...

Photo of billshmeinke
3.38/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Thanks to biniek13 for trading it to me. 2009 vintage.

Two finger beige head. Pitch black body. Great retention that leaves nice lacing behind.

Smells of tootsie rolls. Dark fruits (plumbs and raisins). Nose reminds me quite a bit of Chokolat by Southern Tier.

Taste is similar. Tootsie rolls, sugar, plumbs, prunes, brown sugar, a touch of dark chocolate, subtle black berries and raspberries, candied dark fruits, and a hint of roastiness/smokiness on the back end. Too much fake sugary like flavor for me.

Thick and full bodied. Low carbonation. Quite smooth, and luscious. Perfect RIS mouthfeel.

A bit cloying, but the alcohol is well hidden. One bottle wasn't exactly easy to put down. Really similar to Chokolat which is much easier to trade for. It also gets a bit better after it warms.

Photo of Lukafer
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

edited for vintage: 09
Split amongst friends at a tasting. Review from notes.

Pours jet black with a pinky fingers worth of tan head. Smells are chocolate, roasted malts, a lo of cocoa, dark fruits and booze! Tater are much like the nose, chocolate, cocoa, malt and booze and goddamn good! Mouthfeel is sticky and chewy, perfect. We could have easily split another bottle this was so good. Worth the hype.

Photo of crossovert
3.58/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

2008 Vintage. 750ml black and gold waxed and capped brown bottle. 55 degrees. Not my 1000th review but my 1000th beer tried!

It pours a thick black with a voluptuous tan head. The head is sandier and not as dark as most Russian Imperial Stouts. It holds like a marvel for a 2 year aged brew of this strength. It refuses to recede but as it does it coats my snifter with thick lacing.

The smell is absolutely wonderful. I was at a brewery today smelling the fest wort, and this one has a lot of that fresh wort smell, that honey-oatmeal like malt sugar smell. Also in there is chocolate, coffee, slight roastiness, rum, and that classic stout smell with a bit of fruitiness. There are raisins and dark cherries in it as well as some caramel and a slight nuttiness. The sweetness can be smelled though there is also a cutting bitterness and sharpness sin the smell. The alcohol is present merely as an addition to the complexity of this brew.

This one is pretty intense in the mouth, a sweeter, fruitier RIS. It smacks you initially with some caramel covered cherries and raisins, then another wave of vinous raisin/grape, and finally a bitter coffee/chocolate finish. The alcohol flashes itself, though not completely, it is a palate exhauster form start to finish.

Though a bit cloying, the mouthfeel is pretty epic for the style, it is smooth and thick with a present but not overbearing alcoholic burn. This is the "liqueur" beer as it holds a bit more sweetness and complexity tan your average Russian imperial stout.

Overall if they were to tone down the sweetness on this one it would reach epic levels of enjoyability, the nose is right on.

Photo of rvdoorn
2.33/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1

2008 vintage

Shared this beer with some friends during our epic imperial stout tasting with Surly Darkness, Darklord, Kate the Great, Abyss, Sexual Chocolate, Cigar City 110K OT Batch2, Speedway stout, Stormaktsporter regular and Kaggen! in the line-up.

Look: Beautiful. Dark as hell. Very nice thick tan head.

Smell: Beautiful aroma as well. This is so complex, it is impossible to describe everything, coffee, dark fruits, tobacco, alcohol, toffee, chocolate. WOW! In terms of smell equal in quality to the Kaggen!.

Taste: Well, what shall I say, this is really the first beer I ever had I wished I would not have tasted after smelling it. What an enormous disappointing taste. Sweet toffee, molasses, chocolate and sugars. Overpowering sweet. Incredible unbalanced and dull.

Mouhtfeel: Mouthfeel is great again. Thick, dense on palate.

Overall: In terms of taste, completely overrated. Nobody from our 6 people group could finish the glass. Look, smell and mouthfeel close to perfect though. The brewers should contact the Narke brewery for a course in tasty, balanced RIS brewing! The worst one of the evening. Hopeless and hopless

Photo of jampics2
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review #400. Never thought I'd get here so quickly. I needed a good beer to celebrate this milestone, and I also needed a good buddy to drink it with. So, I brought this to Paul's in hopes that we could toast his new bachelor pad with a great beer. Batch from 2009, opened at about 9 months of age.

Poured into a snifter, this is a dark beer. The kind of beer that would make an appearance in a new Tim Burton film complete with a Danny Elfman soundtrack and really good claymation. Maybe it should have its own music video? The beer is thick, opaque, and has a tan head that leaves great lacing.

Smell is roasted malt driven, giving great chocolate and coffee notes. Some hops do surface, adding a earthy twist. There's even some vanilla, brown sugar, raisin, and dare I say blackstrap molasses in the mix. Just shy of perfect, it's a nice take and doesn't smell that evil after all.

Taste is absolutely one-of-a-kind. This is a great beer, perhaps deserving more respect than some others that get talked about more. It tastes like velvet feels - just so smooth, luxurious, and sexy that you just want to drape yourself in it from head to toe. Tons of well roasted malt give the impressions of really smooth cocoa powder and dark roast coffee. A sweetness exudes that never becomes cloying or makes drinking a 12oz snifter feel like a chore. Raisins and brown sugar become prevalent as it warms, perhaps the raisins were even soaked in a combination of Kahlua, Baily's and Canadian Maple Cream liquor. There's so many levels, each pleasant and just nothing like the sugar and soy sauce bomb I expected based on other massive American RIS's with evil sounding names. Some alcohol is there, but it's blanketed in flavor and just helps to remind me that, no, this isn't a dream. Yes, it's real. Even a touch of hoppiness at the end feels natural. This is a world class beer!

Mouthfeel is also perfect. It's thick and viscous, but not slick, syrupy, or oily. It's sugar doesn't add to the stickiness either. The carbonation is perfect, and the aftertaste isn't totally clean, but it's not stinging, alcohol-laden, or unpleasant in any way. Like George Costanza's track suit in a glass.

This was a great choice for #400. It was a perfect beer to share with a friend. As I write more and more of these reviews, one thing is becoming apparent to me. Beer is a wonderful thing, but the most important thing in keeping a diary like this is being able to remember the good times you had sharing the beers you're documenting. That's when the power of this fascinating beverage is at it's peak.

Photo of jdense
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Slaintemehor animal call tastefest 7.23.2010.

One finger light tan head, medium dissipation with some lacing. Dark brown opaque body, no visible carbonation. Big complex nose, there is a lot going on here, I picked up chocolate and cherry up front, a bit of coffee and caramel balanced against a stone fruit and bitter on the back end hop bill. Taste mirrors nose, pretty damn smooth, I picked up a milk chocolate cordial cherry taste with some bitterness on back end, not overwhelmingly so. Mouthfeel is medium, smooth, a bit sticky. Didn't want to hoard the bottle, what I had was damn good, looking forward to having this again.

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,888 ratings.